Thursday, March 8, 2012

NFL's Reaction to Saints Bounty Program is Strategic and Hypocritical

All of sudden the NFL cares about Bounty Programs, just like they recently decided to care about player safety.  The irony is they didn't seem to care when it primarily affected defensive players.  Anyone close to the NFL knows that bounties, or "pay for performance" programs, exist in many different forms. 

Allegedly, Tom Brady has bought extravagant gifts for his offensive linemen for their on the field performance.  In 2007, Shawn Merriman claims that he was injured as a result of a "pay for performance' program by the Tennessee Titans. 

It's clear that the NFL is more concerned with offensive players safety than defensive players safety.  I believe it's a strategic decision by Roger Goodell to make the game more explosive offensively, thus resulting in more excitement and more ticket sales.  Not only is it a bad strategy, it's also hypocritical.

Many people believe that more touchdowns equals a more exciting game, mainly because a low scoring 6 - 3 game can be excruciatingly difficult to watch.  Although low scoring games are not exciting, a 71 - 67 game where each team trades touchdowns, like Arena Football, is not much better.  In addition, teams that score alot typically force alot of turnovers and turn the ball over with more frequency.  This is because their offenses are more aggressive and their defenses will take more chances with an offense that can score regularly.  Turnovers, I would argue, are what make the games most exciting.  Turnovers create the emotion, drama, dissappointment, joy, happiness and rollercoaster that make NFL games enjoyable.  Most turnovers are caused by big hits.

The NFL's focus on player safety is very hypocritical because while rules are changing for defensive players and the fines are extraordinary, chop blocking (under certain circumstances) and blind side blocking (under certain circumstances) remain legal, and more importantly are rarely called.

So let's bring this back to business.  When business leaders enforce the wrong strategy and apply it inconsistently, it ususally leads to disaster.  The NFL is a very popular sport right now, but high scoring games with mediocre defensive players may not acheive the desired result.  A player trying to injure another player is not necessarily bad if the tackle was legal, and this is what the NFL's focus on the Bounty Program misses. 

Rewarding defensive players for letting up on tackles, is like treating your high performers the same as average performers.  The behaviors that brought your company success are penalized and eventually the entire organization becomes mediocre.  Add the fact that some high performers are rewarded more than average performers in other departments, and it's a recipe for disaster...

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